Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Once Second Home

Kindly ignored the badly bitten arms by the sandflies.

Finally I am making this trip home useful: by paying a visit to the operating theatre. Hospital is not exactly my favourite place. It was my second home when I was young with dengue and frequent high fever cases. Being a regular, the nurses in Gleneagles knew me well and I knew my level for child care by heart. I remembered the fear of needles when blood test was needed regularly. I remembered the smell of medicine when it came with my meal. I remembered the laughter with my father when he tried to fake the Canadian accent, and I vomited the orange I just consumed. I remembered the company of my mother when she had to spend the night on the same bed with me because I was a timid kid, well I still am.

The last time I had a surgery was to cure my in-growth nails, once and for all, in 2007. I had enough of nails removal on both of my toes in clinics. The anaesthetic needle poked through my tiny toes and I filled the clinic with screams. I will never ever forget the pain and the reluctance to visit the clinic every evening to clean the wound. Layers of cotton on my flesh had to be peeled for daily cleaning. I had enough of stares by wearing ugly slippers to primary and secondary schools. I was made fun once where someone hid one of my slippers. I had a full body anaesthetic that time. I was fighting the resistance to fall asleep. Like all the past minor removal surgeries, I wanted to sit up straight and looked at the procedure.

I’ve said, hospital is not my favourite place, and doctor is not my favourite person. I do not trust them. I had horrible experience with doctors which was traumatising. I was a rebellious and fussy kid, I remembered being tied up once just to get an injection on my buttock. I was crying and screaming of course, I remembered saying to the doctor, ‘When I grow up, I am going to kill you!’ I stared at him deadly but weakly with my red and puffy eyes. I meant every single word I said that time, now I laughed it off by telling this story to my friends. Another doctor in a clinic put a plastic bag over my head, for some reason. It was weird; it was annoying; it was uncomfortable.

But I did have a pleasant experience. I had to inhale this gas to cure my asthma on frequent weekly visits to this hospital. The scent, from what I remembered, was magical and lovely. I looked forward to the visit each time.
This round, I had a minor surgery but as usual, I was tensed and scared. It was a quick 5-10 minutes removal, but the doctor was fatherly and lovely. I heaved a huge sigh of relief when it was over. Apart from the tiny tinge of pain with the anaesthetic needle, the awkward operated area and the fasting, things were okay and I was prepared by bringing laptop and a book to kill my time at the ward.

It was hilarious that I was seriously looking forward to have breakfast and lunch in the hospital. Or actually, I was just looking forward to eat.

Wen Xin